A Different Kind of Christmas Carol

by Zustara Orur

A story (C) 2002/2003 by ZUSTARA ORUR. Contact address: zustara@hotmail.com 1.2 May not be redistributed, commercial use prohibited!

Please see chapter 1 for standard disclaimer blurb and the dedication and acknowledgements section.


"First thing... There's nothing really wrong with my parents. They love me, and I love them I suppose. They're just... Well, really BUSY, you know? Busy making more money that we don't need and never will... There's no such thing as 'enough' for them." He stopped, perhaps to check on me, how I was doing. I could not look at him. He was too beautiful, his face and his body. He held his arm around my shoulders still, hand on my shoulder and holding it tight, I felt the strength and warmth of that arm and was comforted from it. He held me so close to himself, as close as he could... "William probably was more like a father than my own in many ways, particularly when I was little. I had a nanny too of course, but I looked more to him for guidance and eventually he was put in charge of my upbringing. My nanny did learn me to read and write and such though, because William has to look over the running of the house and such so he couldn't be with me all the time. However, despite that I still became rootless. When I was thirteen and a half, I met Felix for the first time. Oh, he looked almost exactly like you, small and cute, pale skin, pale blonde hair..."

"I'm not small! Not anymore, people just call me 'little' Timmy because I USED to be really small."

"Are too!", Jeff replied in a warm, teasing voice. "Small, AND cute."

I smiled, even though my head was bowed down and eyes still shut. "I'm average height for a fifteen-year-old."

"No you're not. You're still shorter." I could hear he was smiling too. I smiled more, and blushed slightly. I squeezed his thigh just a little, and he held me even closer, caressing my hand again. "Felix wasn't anything like you in his personality though. He was... Well, reckless. He fascinated me. I felt like he could do anything he wanted. He wasn't rich; he was normal. I thought, if you weren't rich like I was, you could be free. To me, wealth stifled you, forced you to behave in a particular way, attend boring dinners, look proper, ACT proper. Be a good little boy and behave and NEVER EVER shame yourself or your parents. Felix was so different, I liked Felix even though he wasn't really a very nice person. Actually, I thought I loved him, and thus I followed him everywhere. He was only too happy to take advantage of my constant presence because it meant a free ride for him to anything he desired. I'd buy him stuff just to keep up his interest in me, because I guess a small part of me understood he'd dump me as soon as it became apparent he couldn't use me anymore. I'd buy him little things, not like Rolex watches or such of course, but comic books, action figures, computer games... Stuff like that. It was enough for him, I guess he was too young then, his imagination didn't reach further than burgers at McDonald's, G.I. Joes and X-Men magazines. He also liked to make me do stuff both of us knew I wasn't supposed to. Only a week after first meeting, he made me get drunk for the first time. It was a dare. I nicked a bottle from the bar at home and we drank small paper cups of vodka in his basement until I got totally plastered. I was sick as a dog too and Felix was busy laughing his ass off at me. He was a lot more used to alcohol than I was, and I think he drank less than me also. I thought it was some sort of a brotherly bonding experience, a way for us to get closer and maybe a way for him to start loving me too, but all he wanted was to see me make a fool out of myself. He had...friends, as well. They could get...stuff. Felix couldn't afford it regularly, but he knew I could..."

I was starting to get really afraid. "What kind of...stuff?", I whispered, not wanting to know the answer, already knowing.

"Oh, you know what kind of stuff. That stuff you go to jail for selling. They had all sorts of stuff, if it had a name, Felix probably knew someone who could get it, any kind there ever was... He lived in a place where such stuff was pretty rife. As for how he got to know those people I really have no idea, I never asked and he certainly didn't tell. I guess it was in his nature to seek that kind of clientele out. Well, he persuaded me to try, and I did, and then it quickly went from trying to using..."

I was so scared I was shaking. "But didn't your parents, anyone NOTICE this?"

He sighed. "I became very good at hiding the truth. If there ever was anything Felix taught me, it was how to lie and deceive. He did it himself all the time, and he was very, very good at it too... He had me completely fooled. I ended up financing his entire little gang of street kids. I didn't want to, but I had to or else I'd lost him. I thought I loved him, and worse, after a while I started believing he loved me too. Why else was he so interested in being with me? I didn't realize it was only my money that kept him attached to me, he despised rich people because he wasn't one himself, and to get to ruin one and get HIM to pay for it too was like a dream come true for him I suppose. But lies only last so far, six months after we met my life was already going out of control. I was drunk, and/or high almost every single day, and my schoolwork was going down the tubes. Most of the time I wasn't even bothering to show up at all actually, I hung out with Felix and another bunch of his loose acquaintances. He didn't seem to have any real friends, just people he knew, people like me. Nobody that was really close to him... My parents were threatening to chain me up and send me off to a private boarding school, they didn't know I was partying hard on a daily basis, they just thought I was being rebellious and disobedient. I felt threatened and feared I'd never get to see Felix again, and in a lapse of judgment I told him I loved him... Maybe it was the fact I was even more wasted than usual that day that loosened my tongue, I don't know. He laughed me in my face and said I was a... Well, I'm not going to tell you all that." He stopped a moment, maybe to let his voice rest. He'd remained calm, even while telling me all those horrible things. Not distanced or insensitive, just calm. Almost natural about it actually. I couldn't understand how he managed to... "The next day he still called me though. He didn't say he was sorry, no of course not, it wasn't in his nature. I said I was sorry though. I'd only been joking I lied and of course he knew I lied, I'd been heartbroken the day before, telling him all about being sent away and everything. Maybe he'd known about my feelings even before that, or at least suspected. Anyway, he said it didn't matter. It did of course, not only was I a rich fuck, I was a rich QUEER fuck too. But I had money and I was still useful to him. So after first period I skipped school again to be with him, and that's when he outlined his proposal. His 'plan'... You see... Felix was crazy. I didn't know if he'd always been that way, or if it was all the drugs and booze or whatever. He said he'd thought it all out, and with my help it would be foolproof. Even if we got caught - which he promised we would not - rich people could always get away with anything he said."

I hardly dared to speak at all. "So what did he want to do?"

"Kill someone. A kid. Just to see what it would be like." I tensed up. "Kill, and cut up, and make satanic symbols out of the blood for no other reason than to confuse the police he said, but I think it would be some sort of a power trip for him somehow."

"Y-you didn't...?"

"NO! Of course not! I'm not insane! I said I wasn't sure, and then he insisted, and later became agitated. When I still refused, he turned obnoxious and it wasn't until then I saw him for the emotional vampire he was... I told him I didn't want anything to do with him and he screamed all sorts of terrible things to me. I ran away, feeling unhappy and betrayed. I still thought I loved him, but it was just a physical attraction. Had been all along... He was as cute as you, Timmy, but unlike you he wasn't a beautiful person. He was all blackened and ugly and rotten on the inside and I KNEW that, but right then it didn't help. I still felt awful." Again, Jeff paused for a little while. He rubbed my hand soothingly, then continued his sad tale. "I never saw him again after that. I tossed away my cellphone, and he didn't have my home number so he couldn't contact me again, not that I think he wanted to anyway. His free ride had ended. The next few months were as horrible for those around me as they were for me I suppose. I saw no reason for me to exist. I didn't really want to die, I just wasn't sure if I wanted to live either. I had grown up in a GOOD home, never lacked anything from a materialistic point-of-view, always been taken care of, even loved I suppose. Still I felt like shit. I thought of all those out there who have NOTHING. Not food to eat, nor a roof over their head, not even a leaky one! How could I, who had EVERYTHING, have the right to feel bad about myself? I was spoiled, that's all. Spoiled and worthless, lesser than even the poorest wino bum on the streets. I had NO RIGHT to feel bad about anything, and that only made it even worse! When you're not even allowed to feel bad about feeling bad you just want to crawl down a hole in the ground and never come out again, and I really tried to do just that. Most of those days I can't even remember now, it's all just a haze lasting for weeks at a time. What I can remember is tainted with the worst of hung-overs you can imagine, usually sitting on a stool the kitchen in a bathrobe with William trying to talk some sense into me, and then I'd just escape and run away again. I ran away from home so many times I lost count, nobody could control me anymore and nobody could understand why I did it! I'd always been well-behaved before, my sudden change took everybody by such surprise they were completely helpless, in shock. You'd think when someone you care for is in as serious trouble as I was you'd do anything to stop it. But they all felt so helpless... It didn't stop until I ended up in a hospital emergency room a year to the day of meeting Felix. My heart had stopped, they had to shock me with those paddle-thingies to get it going again." Right then I realized I was shaking and crying like a baby. Jeff was holding me in his strong arms, I'm not really sure when I'd ended up there, but there I was. He was holding me with both arms actually and so was I, touching his naked skin with my hands, my face dripping tears on his shoulder as I cried harder than I'd ever done before, crying for the pain he'd felt, crying for the fact I'd almost lost him forever before even having had the chance of getting to know him! "Shhh... Darling, it's okay... I'm okay now! It's alright..."

He patted me and caressed me, and kissed me, showing the depths to which his love reached, trying to make me feel alright again. And Jeff had been right when he said he felt okay about what had happened to himself. He wasn't proud of it of course, but it had happened to him, it was a part of his life and he had to accept it. He'd done that, and moved on. It was part of him, sure, but in his past.

Finally, I managed to calm down, the surge of emotions reducing to just a trickle. I felt so sorry for him, just like with his money, I had no idea! HOW COULD I? Jeff had been a pinnacle of perfection to me, everything about him was perfect in my eyes! But he was just a human being after all... A human being, with his faults, and weaknesses. He'd been made more aware of those weaknesses of his than anyone should ever have to. He'd walked through hell and came out the other side, not stronger, but wiser. That's all.

I was sniffling still, the occasional sob still shaking me. So young, and have to go through all that... "I love you so much...", I whimpered, sobbed a bit more and squeezed him tighter. He was patting me on my butt, kissing my neck and cheeks, then my lips. I felt calmer still. Jeff was okay, and he loved me. "So... What happened then?", I managed to ask.

Jeff actually chuckled. "Well, I got sent to rehab of course. Poor kids die in some alley somewhere, rich ones get treatment..." The biting irony in his voice was impossible to miss. "I stayed there for almost half a year, recovering. They offered counseling, but I knew why I'd done it. I HAD been spoiled, and behaved accordingly. When there finally was something I could not have just by pointing at it, namely Felix, I reacted by hurting everybody else around me for it. I'd known what kind of person he really was. Even from day one I had, but I deliberately chose to ignore that because I was BORED with my life and stupidly wished for some excitement! So I didn't say much to the counselors. I talked mostly to William instead, about myself and about Felix. What he'd meant for me, and what I thought he'd meant for me. I realized how much I'd made William worry about me. He forgave me, though a part of me didn't want him to, it still wanted me to suffer. I still saw no reason for me to exist, but I didn't tell even William that... I think he knew anyway somehow, but no matter how good he was to me I didn't let myself be touched by it. When I finally came home, my family were already busy moving here, far away from London and all the dangers of that city. We all went someplace where I did not know any people of the wrong kind... A place small enough so I couldn't fall down the cracks and get lost again, but big enough to fit the standards of my parents... The Christmas of previous year was almost like a funeral, the last days I spent in my childhood home, almost all the furniture gone already. We still own the place of course, but it's completely empty, like a tomb. As empty as I felt right then." He paused for a few moments, as if lost in reveries. Hugging me tighter. "I don't like that place much anymore...", he added, as if speaking only to himself. "We were still getting things in order here when school started, and first day, first assembly in the morning I finally saw my reason for existing..." He looked at me so intensely it felt like he could see into my soul. My face blushed, and I felt silly. I could say nothing while he looked at me like that! "I saw you", Jeff said softly, "And you smiled at me... Taking the seat right next to me. I felt weird, because you looked so much like Felix it was actually rather spooky. For a second I thought I was going to go through the same cycle all over again, but then I realized your smile was so different from his... And thus I knew it was okay. There was no hidden malice in that smile, no ulterior motives behind it. Just pure, simple friendliness... I knew that even though you would probably never come to love me, I was meant to love you. I felt a wish, a need to impress you. To be the best person I ever could be... If I was, maybe I could MAKE you love me..."

"...Really?", I blurted. I was feeling so incredibly flattered!

He knew it, I think, because he grinned wide in a friendly manner and stroked one of my cheeks. It was a little wet still. "Yeah, I was silly I know." I shook my head firmly, indicating he wasn't silly at all! He grinned again. "My mood changed immediately, and the first who noticed was William of course. We spoke lots, and soon he asked if it was love again, and I told about you. How different you are, how kind and appreciative..." His words made me blush something awful. I remembered the butler's words when I had arrived. 'I understand he'll be quite pleased to see you', then man had said, and the nod he had given me when Jeff and I kissed in the library... It all made sense to me. "So here I am. Clean and sober, and no STDs either. Granted, I didn't use needles more than a couple times, but it only takes one time to contract something nasty. If I'd ended up with HIV, I'd never kissed you. You have to believe me! I'd never risk infecting you too!"

"Hush, Jeffrey... Don't talk like that!", I said, my throat wanting to seize up around the words I tried to speak. I was as scared for my own sake as for his! Deathly afraid even, the thought of him doing that to himself... It sent harsh shivers down my back. "Besides, I don't care!", I said to comfort him. "I'd wanted you just as much anyway, there's good medicines now so I don't worry about infection." I needn't have worried, Jeff wasn't upset.

"You fool!", Jeff laughed. "Those medicines can't cure you! They can only slow down the disease, and they have some pretty gruesome side-effects too. I met a kid at the rehab center who got HIV from dirty needles, and I really don't recommend trying the experience. Absolutely not! He comes from a wealthy home too of course, but his parents' money can't help him. Nobody can. All he can hope for is that they find a cure before his HIV infection breaks out into AIDS and he dies from it."

"Okay, Jeff. Whatever you say...", I said quietly, happily. Hugging him closer again. Sure I listened to what he said and took his words to my heart, but I just wanted him to stop talking about such awful things!

"All my dark secrets revealed to you, and you still love me...", he mumbled, amazed, and looking at me still with the same intensity. "This past year, since I met you... I felt living was so easy in a way. Even though it was hard, it was still easy. Every time you looked at me and smiled, that was reward enough for a WEEK of struggling with schoolwork and my training... And I kept thinking, maybe you do like me... Your smiles, they made me hope for more, and that made it even easier to continue to impress you. I always hear you cheering me on whenever we play a game, even if we're losing badly. It makes it easy! Thank you Timmy, I love you so much!"

I was crying again. "Oh Jeffrey! You DID impress me!", I bawled. "You've done nothing but impressing me since I first saw you, and I think I've loved you for as long as well..." I was hugging him so tight, burying my face against his strong neck and kissing it, tasting my own tears in the process, and I felt he was still stiff... Even after telling that long, horrible tale of his, he was still excited. Maybe it was me sitting in his lap that did it... "I didn't NEED you to impress me though!", I continued. "I would have loved you anyway...!"

"You can't know that, and I certainly couldn't know. I think I would have been happy just by being your friend forever. Even if you'd married a girl and had lots of children with her, if we'd still been friends and if I could make you smile every once in a while, that would have been enough for me..."

That really made me smile! "GIRLS? EEWW!", I said with a grin. "How can you even THINK such a thing of me?" We both grinned, me with a face streaked with tears, him still with that intense look. "But you know, Jeff... I didn't think you could be wrong about anything, but you are. This time, you actually are. You see, I think the reason you became the best you could be is because that is the real you! That IS you, that's why you found it easy even though it was difficult. Maybe you just didn't know it yourself, but that MUST be so. I know you..."

Jeffrey laughed softly. "I don't know if that's true", he said, clearly amused. "But I'd still like to impress you if I can."

I smiled shyly. "I hope you'll always want to impress me...", I said in a whisper. "I'm easily impressed. Just be you, Jeffrey, that's enough. Just be you..." My last words I spoke even quieter, but I know he still heard. He kissed me again, holding my head in his hands like I was a sacred artefact. He kissed me with such care and reverence all of me responded simultaneously, making me gasp and moan softly. All my senses were preoccupied with just one thing: Jeffrey. He was all that existed to me right then, and right at that very moment we both felt I was ready for what was to come next... The hunger in us took over.

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